By Kendall King
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Country Mouse Farm is helping Hatters make fun family memories this Holiday Season with their U-cut Christmas Tree Experience running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 4-5.
The U-Cut Christmas Tree Experience began on Nov. 27-28.
Not only can families select and cut their own Christmas tree, they can enjoy hot chocolate and homemade gingersnap cookies, as well as take family photos to commemorate the day.
“We’re not a tree lot,” said owner Erika Bodnaruk. “A tree lot is for people who just want to go get their tree and get out. That’s not what we promote here. We want people on the farm. We want them to enjoy the tree field. We want them to go out and start a new family tradition.”
Bodnaruk and her husband Gerald began planting trees in 2008 and estimate they have approximately 14,000 currently growing. They, along with their children Josh and Logan, run the farm, which doubles as landscaping tree production in the summer months.
There are three types of trees available for the Christmas u-cut; the Black Hills White Spruce and Scots Pine are most popular for Christmas trees, but they also offer the Colorado Blue Spruce, which has a strong aroma and sharp needles, which many of Bodnaruk’s customers say helps keep their pets away from the tree.
“When you come to our farm, you cut a fresh Christmas tree,” said Bodnaruk. “Most of the trees that you get in retail stores have been cut around the end of October, so they’ve been dead for weeks already (which) makes it very difficult for the tree … Whereas ours, because it’s been cut fresh (and) lasts that much longer.”
The U-cut Christmas Tree Experience began five years ago, and during that time Bodnaruk has seen many return customers
“We had a couple come out actually with their pictures (taken at the farm previous years) and say ‘Look at how much the kids have grown’,” she said.
Bodnaruk hopes all Country Mouse Farm customers find the perfect Christmas tree, but she also wants them to enjoy the time spent with their family.
“(Christmas) is not about the gifts, it’s about being together,” she said. “We are honoured that we would be able to share in a new family Christmas tradition.”
With COVID restrictions, anyone interested in visiting Country Mouse Farm is asked to schedule a time online prior to their visit. Upon arrival, masks are required, as is social distancing between members of different households.
For anyone unable to attend the U-cut Christmas Tree Experience weekends, closed appointments can be booked at other times, however wagon rides, snacks and family photos will not be available during these appointments.